IR-2024-65: IRS alert: Beware of companies misrepresenting nutrition, wellness and general health expenses as medical care for FSAs, HSAs, HRAs and MSAs

Bookmark and Share

IRS.gov Banner
IRS Newswire March 6, 2024

News Essentials

What’s Hot

News Releases

IRS – The Basics

IRS Guidance

Media Contacts

Facts & Figures

Around The Nation

e-News Subscriptions


The Newsroom Topics

Multimedia Center

Noticias en Español

Radio PSAs

Tax Scams

The Tax Gap

Fact Sheets

IRS Tax Tips

Armed Forces

Latest News Home


IRS Resources

Contact My Local Office

Filing Options

Forms & Instructions

Frequently Asked Questions

News

Taxpayer Advocate

Where to File

IRS Social Media


Issue Number:    IR-2024-65

Inside This Issue


IRS alert: Beware of companies misrepresenting nutrition, wellness and general health expenses as medical care for FSAs, HSAs, HRAs and MSAs

WASHINGTON – Amid concerns about people being misled, the Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers and heath spending plan administrators that personal expenses for general health and wellness are not considered medical expenses under the tax law.

This means personal expenses are not deductible or reimbursable under health flexible spending arrangements, health savings accounts, health reimbursement arrangements or medical savings accounts (FSAs, HSAs, HRAs and MSAs).

This reminder is important because some companies are misrepresenting the circumstances under which food and wellness expenses can be paid or reimbursed under FSAs and other health spending plans.

“Legitimate medical expenses have an important place in the tax law that allows for reimbursements,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. “But taxpayers should be careful to follow the rules amid some aggressive marketing that suggests personal expenditures on things like food for weight loss qualify for reimbursement when they don’t qualify as medical expenses.”

Some companies mistakenly claim that notes from doctors based merely on self-reported health information can convert non-medical food, wellness and exercise expenses into medical expenses, but this documentation actually doesn’t. Such a note would not establish that an otherwise personal expense satisfies the requirement that it be related to a targeted diagnosis-specific activity or treatment; these types of personal expenses do not qualify as medical expenses.

For example: A diabetic, in his attempts to control his blood sugar, decides to eat foods that are lower in carbohydrates. He sees an advertisement from a company stating that he can use pre-tax dollars from his FSA to purchase healthy food if he contacts that company. He contacts the company, who tells him that for a fee, the company will provide him with a ‘doctor’s note’ that he can submit to his FSA to be reimbursed for the cost of food purchased in his attempt to eat healthier. However, when he submits the expense with the ‘doctor’s note’, the claim is denied because food is not a medical expense and plan administrators are wary of claims that could invalidate their plans.

FSAs and other health spending plans that pay for, or reimburse, non-medical expenses are not qualified plans. If the plan is not qualified, all payments made to taxpayers under the plan, even reimbursements for actual medical expenses, are includible in income.

The IRS encourages taxpayers with questions to review the frequently asked questions on medical expenses related to nutrition, wellness and general health to determine whether a food or wellness expense is a medical expense.

IRS.gov provides more information regarding details and requirements for deductibility of medical expenses; taxpayers can also review Can I Deduct My Medical and Dental Expenses? and Publication 502, Medical and Dental Expenses.

 

Back to Top


FaceBook Logo  YouTube Logo  Instagram Logo  Twitter Logo  LinkedIn Logo


Thank you for subscribing to the IRS Newswire, an IRS e-mail service.

If you know someone who might want to subscribe to this mailing list, please forward this message to them so they can subscribe.

This message was distributed automatically from the mailing list IRS Newswire. Please Do Not Reply To This Message.


This email was sent to 65irs29@cpaemailnewsletter.com by: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) · Internal Revenue Service · 1111 Constitution Ave. N.W. · Washington, D.C. 20535 GovDelivery logo

Leave a Reply